Malaysia: Union wins certification, reinstatement of members
The Timber Employees’ Union of Peninsular Malaysian (TEUPM) on 2 December 2021 won its certification through a secret ballot election organised at the Jemaramas Jaya Furniture Company in Klang, Malaysia.
However, instead of recognising the democratic outcome of the election, the company reportedly retaliated by going after workers who voted in favour of the union. One such example is Rayhan, a migrant worker from Bangladesh who has been working in the company for several years now.
According to the union, Rayhan was informed by the management that his contract will not be renewed despite passing his medical test. He was also informed that his visa renewal was cancelled and a return ticket back to Bangladesh was issued to him. Rayhan did not receive any official reason for his dismissal other than being verbally informed by one of the local Malaysian managers that he was let go for voting in favour of the union.
The TEUPM and representatives of the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) quickly mobilised to prevent Rayhan’s repatriation by filing a complaint against the company before the Industrial Relations Department of Shah Alam, Malaysia. The company’s actions against Rayhan were categorised as unfair dismissal on the basis of union busting.
On 18 February, the union received word that the company has been directed by authorities to reinstate Rayhan to his former work and renew his work permit, saying that migrant workers in Malaysia have the right to unionise and should not be punished for it.
The TEUPM sees this as a clear victory that strengthens Malayasia’s trade union solidarity with migrant workers. It said that its victory sends a strong message against all forms of union busting practices in the country’s wood-processing industry.